Change Management Matters During an Implementation

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Change Management Matters During an Implementation

Implementing a CRM or ERP or other enterprise system at a company – of any size – is an immense challenge. Companies invest precious manpower and money in an effort to create efficiency and value.

But without an investment in organizational commitment and the right mindset, the project could be doomed from the beginning. Not only could your firm end up with a project that runs too long and costs too much, it could end up with low adoption of the new technology. And while project over-runs are the immediate pain, lack of adoption prevents you from capturing all the value of the new enterprise system for years to come.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.

A few months ago I discussed the CRM adoption problem specifically amongst salespersons in my blog Why Your Salespeople Hate CRM. In that blog, I assumed your organization’s CRM system was already in place.

In the next few blogs, I’ll discuss how organizations can pull off successful implementations – along with long-term adoption. This is based on The 8-Step Process for Leading Change, originally developed by Dr. John Kotter.

Why the Kotter model? Because firms have successfully adapted it to use for CRM, ERP and other software implementation.

For example, at the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics CRM User Group Summit, held last month here in St Louis, I attended a session led by Gustav Westerland of CRM Konsulterna, a Swedish CRM implementation company. Westerland cited a study by Forrester Research from 2001-2009, where 63% of CRM initiatives were said to have “failed” by the executives at those companies. He then talked about how they have used the model to achieve success on CRM implementation projects.

The key is that the Kotter model accounts for the massive amount of cultural change that happens during such initiatives.

Here are the 8 steps:

  1. Establish a sense of urgency
  2. Create a guiding coalition
  3. Develop a change vision
  4. Communicate the vision
  5. Empower broad based action
  6. Generate short-term wins
  7. Never let up
  8. Incorporate the changes into company culture

Feel free to visit Kotter International to become more familiar with Dr. Kotter’s approach. Over the course of my next several blog posts, we’ll explore each step in more detail, and I’ll show you:

  • What these steps look like in the real world
  • Which steps are most critical in CRM and ERP implementations
  • Tips and tricks, what to look for in your organization
  • How we have successfully used these steps in our own organization

Let’s get ready to lead meaningful change!


Your take?
Which of these steps would be the most difficult to achieve in your organization? Which of these elements are already present? Does your organization have a codified vision?


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